CHICAGO (AP) — A couple unheralded Chicago White Sox rookies helped get veteran left-hander Derek Holland back to the winning side, beating the reeling ace of the American League’s best team.
Kevan Smith had a home run and drove in four runs and Adam Engel provided a highlight-reel catch as the White Sox ended a six-game losing streak by topping Dallas Keuchel and the Houston Astros 8-5 on Tuesday.
Holland (6-11) earned his first win since June 13, despite issuing seven walks in 5 2/3 innings. He had been 0-5 in eight starts and one relief appearance since beating Baltimore.
Chicago (42-68) won for the fourth time in 23 games after a rebuilding sale continued to strip the team of much of its veteran core.
“I think it just proves that even though we’re young and maybe not as experienced as some of the big squads, we can still put games together,” Smith said. “We just need to take it into the future. I say future, but I mean tomorrow. But obviously with this whole rebuild thing, we just need to pick out as many positives as we can from this game and roll with it.”
Keuchel (9-2) allowed a season-high eight runs and 10 hits in four innings for Houston (71-41). He had a 1.67 ERA when he went on the disabled list for the second time with a neck injury, on June 8. The All-Star left-hander has a 10.50 ERA in three starts since his return.
“We’ll get it right and get back to it, but it’s very frustrating,” Keuchel said. “This is a talented lineup but a lineup I should’ve done some damage against and they came out and did some damage against me.”
Avisail Garcia and Yoan Moncada had RBI singles in the first inning as the White Sox took a 3-0 lead. It was Garcia’s first at-bat since coming off the disabled list following a strained thumb ligament that had sidelined the All-Star since July 25.
Alex Bregman hit a bases-loaded triple in the second, but Chicago opened up a 6-3 lead in the third on Smith’s two-run double and Adam Engel’s single. Smith added a two-run homer in the fourth.
Jose Altuve and Yuli Gurriel had solo home runs in the seventh off Jake Petricka.
Tyler Clippard pitched the ninth in his first save chance since the White Sox acquired him from the New York Yankees on July 18. He gave up two hits and struck out two.
Engel made the play of the night in center field, robbing Brian McCann of a home run in the fourth inning by jumping foot-first into the fence, which he used as support as he extended his glove above the wall.
“That’s one of the greatest catches I’ve ever seen,” Holland said. “As soon as I gave it up I thought it was 30 rows deep the way he hit it. For him to make the play he did, that’s huge.”
White Sox manager Rick Renteria said it was the best catch he’s seen all year.
“Probably a top 10, if you had to say” Renteria said, of grabs he’s seen in his career. “It’s got to be up there.”
Nicky Delmonico’s bunt single in the fifth inning made it seven straight games reaching base safely to start his career for Chicago.
The White Sox plan to recall right-hander Reynaldo Lopez from Triple-A Charlotte and start him Friday against Kansas City. General manager Rick Hahn said Lopez, part of the December trade that also netted prospect Lucas Giolito from Washington for Adam Eaton, will take Mike Pelfrey’s spot in the rotation while the veteran works out of the bullpen. Lopez, 23, is rated as the No. 59 prospect in baseball by MLB.com. He was 5-3 with a 4.91 ERA in six starts last season with the Nationals. Lopez is part of a youth movement that is highlighted by top prospect Moncada, who was called up on July 19.
Houston has lost four of five games on the road, including a season-high three straight.
Astros: OF George Springer went through drills before for the game but remained on the disabled list with an injured left quad. He could return on Wednesday, manager AJ Hinch said. Springer ran the bases and took flyballs. “It was a very positive day,” said Springer, who had been out since July 24.
White Sox: Before the game, Chicago activated Garcia and placed 3B Matt Davidson on the 10-day disabled list with a bruised right wrist. Davidson, the club’s home run leader with 22, was hurt Aug. 1 when he was struck by a pitch from Toronto’s Marcus Stroman.
The teams will be back at it Wednesday as RHP Miguel Gonzalez (5-10, 5.15) of the White Sox will take on RHP Collin McHugh (0-0, 3.24), who is making his fourth start of the season.
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